John R. Powers
Writer, Source Material
( b. Nov 30, 1945 - d. Jan 17, 2013 ) Male
John R. Powers first wrote Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?, which comically assessed the effects of his Catholic upbringing, as a 1975 satirical novel. It was the second in what would become a trilogy of books about his experiences growing up in the Mt. Greenwood neighborhood of Chicago.
The book was adapted into a coming-of-age musical, set in the 1950s, with music by James Quinn and Alaric Jans, in 1979. A hit, the musical ran for four-and-a-half years, becoming the longest-running show in the city's history. It then broke house records during two runs in Philadelphia.
In 1982, it reached Broadway, opening at the Alvin Theatre, under direction by Mike Nussbaum, with choreography by Thommie Walsh. There, however, its record of success stopped. The production ran for only five performances. However, the show has had a long and healthy post-Broadway revival. It is given dozens of regional and community productions every year.
His other books included "The Last Catholic in America," "The Unoriginal Sinner and the Ice Cream God," "The Junk Drawer," "Corner Store," "Front Porch Blues" and "Odditude." In recent years, he had worked as public speaker doing motivational comedy and business speeches.